Anti-government fighters in Yemen launched two attacks on the country ‘s main oil export pipeline in the northeastern province of Marib in the past week, according to the Interior Ministry.
The second attack Thursday was in the Serwah district in Marib. An explosion ignited the pipe-fill crude, closing operations at the export terminal port of Ras Esa in Yemen’s Red Sea province of al-Hodayda.
Last Sunday there was an attack on the same pipeline in the nearby area of Damashka.
The pipeline carries 110,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Marib province to the export terminal on the Red Sea.
Since fighting started in March 2011 against the regime of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines and electricity grid have been targeted by saboteurs.
Oil revenues make up more than 70 percent of the state budget and oil and gas products account for 90 percent of Yemen’s exports.
The military conflict that began in early 2011 caused Yemen’s GDP to plunge more than 15% in 2011, and 2% in 2012.
The country’s oil reserves are expected to be depleted by 2017.
Yemen declared war on al Qaeda in January 2010 and is fighting Shi’ite insurgencies in the north and south.
U.S. independent Hunt Oil said in November it was nearing a sale of its Yemen affiliate Jannah Hunt Oil Company, operator of Block 5.
Kuwait Energy reportedly agreed to buy Jannah Hunt Oil.
Other shareholders in Block 5 include Kuwait’s Kufpec with 20 percent, ExxonMobil with 15 percent, Total with 15 percent, and state-owned Yemen Company for Investment in Oil and Minerals (Yicom) with 20 percent.
Block 5 has a production capacity of 40,000 barrels per day. It only produced 16,000 bpd in 2011 because of shutdowns following attacks on the pipeline from the field to the Ras-Esa oil terminal.